Soheil moved to San Francisco to work for Google
Soheil Damangir graduated from the master’s programme in Systems, Control and Robotics in 2013. After finishing his master’s studies, he went on to PhD studies, founded an online payment company and then moved to the US to work for Google.
At what company and with what are you working at the moment?
I work at Google. At the moment, I am designing machine learning infrastructures for Google Search and also developing machine learning models to improve the performance of Google Search.
Have you worked with anything else since you graduated?
While studying in KTH, I toyed with several business ideas to translate my machine learning and robotics education to the market. One of the projects that I was involved in was in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet. Fascinated by the potential of machine learning in medicine, I took on a small project at Karolinska Institutet which eventually got me involved in a multinational project backed by the European Commission and, later, a PhD in medical science. It was truly an amazing experience working in the intersection of the technical and medical world and keeping all my contacts and collaborations in KTH. Throughout this journey, I kept my entrepreneurial hat on and was busy trying out different ideas. Midway through my PhD studies, one of these ideas took off and I co-founded ToMan Payments, an online payment company aimed to facilitate easy payment and credit assessment for underdeveloped and developing countries with minimal financial infrastructure. A year after my PhD graduation and after our start-up's acquisition, I moved to San Francisco, CA and started to work for Google. In addition to my appointment at Google, I advise early stage start-ups and consult companies who want to start dipping their toes in the world of automation, machine learning and internet of things (IoT).
Why did you choose this programme at KTH?
System, Control and Robotics was the best option for me as I had a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and worked in the automation and computer industry after graduation. Prior to starting the programme at KTH, I was involved in a machine learning start-up, and moved to Sweden with the dream of starting another start-up at the back of my mind. One of the most important factors for me was the fact that KTH is in Sweden and Sweden provides a friendly environment for work and starting a business. The level of legal and social support in Sweden is unparalleled. When you choose the country, you sure as well want to choose the best university in that country; KTH hosts top researchers in our field.
System, Control and Robotics sits in the intersection of computer science, electrical engineering, and machine learning. This gave me the unique opportunity of meeting, talking to and working with people with different backgrounds, and learning how people from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science and robotics approach solving different problems.
What were the best aspects of your studies at KTH?
Firstly, the KTH brand is a recognized brand and is known as the top university in Sweden. Secondly, the fact that you will be living in Stockholm which is arguably one of the most liveable cities in the world.
What is your best memory from your time at KTH?
We had a robotics course in which we made a small robot. Looking back, the task was fairly straightforward but the project led to working with many nice colleagues and, since, it was one of my first courses enabled me to get to know many people and the culture in KTH. Of course, living in Lappis and also tentapub (after-exam party) made life fun!
What are your plans for the future?
I made my second migration last year: after the first move to Sweden 10 years ago, I moved to California last year. I plan to work for corporate for a few years to settle in and get to know the work culture here in the US. I think I will eventually end up being involved in yet another start-up.
What would you say to a student thinking of applying for this programme?
Work with as many classmates and colleague as you can. They will be lifelong friends, but that could happen in any university or programme. In KTH not only will you make lifelong friends, but you will also find amazing professional and business partners in your best friends.